Research continues to show that there is a measurable gap between the business and L&D in alignment around goals and results. While the L&D organization has primary responsibility for alignment, business leaders can help the process so that everyone wins.

So, what part can the business leader play? Here are a few simple tips you can use to help L&D align to your goals and to meet your metrics.

Be clear about the business problem you are trying to solve

The clearer you are in how you communicate the business goals, issues that need to be addressed, and changes needed, the better off you’ll be. If you aren’t clear, it’s difficult to partner with you effectively. You’ll help your L&D professionals by putting the goal into a business context.

Be clear about what success looks like

It is critical to be up front about the business metrics. Discuss the data that’s already available and what data you’ll need to see. Start collecting and sharing the data early on –  focusing on real business metrics too late in the process has no upside.

Keep in mind, results don’t have be limited to only hard numbers or formal ROI calculations. Share other expectations you have to judge success.

Recognize performance improvement isn’t just about training

The environment (i.e., expectations, resources, consequences, feedback, processes, tools, etc.) has a substantial impact on performance. Frame the learning need accordingly.

Give L&D the space to come up with a great solution

With the right information, guidance, and time to think, most L&D professionals will return with a reasonable and inventive training solution for your consideration. They may introduce you to new ideas and want to experiment. That’s part of what excites them about the profession. If you start the conversation with “I want a 4-hour class,” you may have already limited the options, demotivated the L&D professional, and hurt your chances to reach your goals.

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